Weeks after implementing a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for employees, the University of Memphis rescinded the mandate, becoming one of many Tennessee institutions caught between state laws, exemptions from laws of states, federal decrees and orders of federal judges on the matter.
On Wednesday, the office of the controller of Tennessee has taken the opportunity to 70 State entities to retain their mandates mask or vaccine – a power previously granted under the new general ban on state regulation COVID- 19.
Following:Tennessee Comptroller’s Office Suspends Entities’ Permits To Keep Vaccine Warrants
Following:Louisiana judge blocks national mandate for COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare workers
The move came a day after two federal judges issued injunctions blocking President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, arguing that Biden had overstepped his bounds by bypassing Congress. The mandate calls for all employers with more than 100 employees to implement requirements for vaccines or regular testing.
The state’s new law – approved by lawmakers in a three-day blitz in October – sets a strict standard for publicly promulgated mask mandates and abolishes all vaccine mandates. But entities that risk losing federal funding for not complying with federal vaccine requirements can apply for exemptions to the Office of the Comptroller.
The U of M was one of the first entities to benefit from the exemption and instituted the vaccine requirement on November 16, weeks after alerting employees to the likelihood that the university would be required to require COVID-19 vaccines under the decree.
Outgoing President David Rudd has spoken openly to the state about security measures related to COVID-19 and has written to the state at least twice this year on vaccines in particular.
Earlier this year, when vaccines were not widely available, he wrote to Bill Lee Gov. asking professors to be aligned with K-12 teachers in immunization priority status. At the start of the school year in August, he wrote to Lee asking the state to add the Covid-19 vaccination to the list of vaccines already required for students.
“I hope you will pay close attention to this request, as I firmly believe that this is an essential step in protecting the safety and well-being of everyone on college and university campuses. of Tennessee. It has never been more important for us to take medical advice from credible authorities whom we have trusted for decades, “Rudd wrote.
In the letter sent to faculty, staff and employed students on Wednesday evening, the U of M cited the change to the state comptroller’s office and rescinded the requirement, but said that “this situation could again change in the coming weeks “.
“Since this order may be reinstated in the future,” the notice says, “all employees are encouraged to continue to use the HR secure download site to voluntarily submit proof of vaccination. Human Resources will also continue to use the HR secure download site. to examine and process medical and religious exemptions. requests … “
The U of M still encourages vaccination against COVID-19, hosts vaccination sites on campus and will still offer eligible employees two hours off work to get vaccinated, according to the advisory.
The university has previously provided no information on how many of its employees have been vaccinated.
Also in Memphis, private Rhodes College and Christian Brothers University have received exemptions from the comptroller’s office to maintain vaccine requirements that have been in place since their semesters began last August.
The institutions did not respond to inquiries on sales calls Wednesday.
Laura Testino covers education and children’s issues for the business appeal. Contact her at [email protected] or 901-512-3763. Find her on Twitter: @LDTestino